Born in East Los Angeles to a body painting hippie musician and a dysfunctional mother who taught her to shoplift at the tender age of 9, Candye Kane has definitely lived a blues life. At 16, she set aside her dream of becoming a professional musician, forsaking a music scholarship at USC Music Conservatory. Like so many young girls in the ghetto, she became an unwed mother involved in the gang culture. She went on welfare to support herself and her young son. Realizing that welfare and food stamps were barely enough to survive, Kane became a sex worker. She appeared on the covers of over 150 magazines, with titles like Hustler, Juggs and Floppers. Soon Candye was a columnist, writing a monthly advice series for Gent Magazine. Simultaneously, she became involved in the burgeoning punk rock music scene of the early 80's. Hollywood was brimming with musical talent and she found herself starting country punk bands and befriending and sharing the stage with musicians as diverse as Fear, Black Flag, Social Distortion, The Circle Jerks, Los Lobos, The Blasters and Dwight Yoakum.
Being a sexual libertine gave Kane a respected position in the anarchist musicians pecking order. She took her money from the lucrative sex business and began subsidizing her musical dreams. She hired musicians, wrote songs, booked studio time, plastered flyers all over Hollywood, got off welfare - all the while supporting herself and her child from her sex work bounty.
In 1986, Kane caught the attention of CBS/Epic A & R Head, Larry Hanby. She was signed to a developmental deal and recorded her first demo with Grammy Winner Val Garay. Kane was marketed as a country singer but her chance for the golden ring was doomed. CBS dropped her when they found out about her checkered past. Managers and Agents encouraged her to lose weight, renounce her past and basically change everything about herself.
Discouraged and broken hearted, Candye moved from Los Angeles to a sleepy beach community in San Diego. She married Paladins bassist Thomas Yearsley, gave birth to another son and became a Women's Studies Major at the local Community College. She continued to write songs and accidentally discovered the brash blues stylings of Big Maybelle, Big Mama Thornton, Etta James (who Candye has opened for several times) and Bessie Smith. The Blues was a place where women had colorful pasts - many were plus sized like herself. Most had grown up in oppressive, horrible circumstances and yet were still able to make music and celebrate their sexual lives.
Candye Kane found a home in the blues.
In 1992, Kane met siblings Clifford and Susan Antone at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas. The Antone's became close friends and fans and in 1994, Kanes' first cd Home Cookin' was released on the Antone's record label. When Kanes' second son was 7 years old, she started the relentless touring pace that she continues today.
Since her first Antones' release, she has recorded 7 cds for labels that include Discovery, Rounder/Bullseye, Sire records and Germany based RUF records. Kane's latest release, White Trash Girl (RUF1084/USA release June 7th) is an autobiographical walk through her colorful life. Her seventh CD was recorded entirely in Austin, Texas. Produced by WC Handy Award nominee Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff, the CD features performances by Austinites; Gary Primich, Former Fabulous T-Bird Preston Hubbard and piano legend Riley Osborn. The songs are gutsy and humorous, tender and provocative. Early reviews are fabulous. The May 2005 issue of Mojo Magazine says: "Kane is a superior belter of raunchy blues. She is candid, saucy and great fun."
Candye's live show is the stuff of legend. She honors the bold blues women of the past with both feet firmly planted in the present. She belts - growls - shouts - croons and moans from a lifetime of suffering and overcoming obstacles. She'll deliver a barrelhouse blues tune or a soulful ballad and then slay the crowd with her balls out rendition of "Whole Lotta Love" Led Zeppelin style. She often says she is a black drag queen trapped in a white womans' body and she dresses the part. Bedecked in bright colored feathers, sequins and rhinestones, Kanes' performance is Mississippi by way of Las Vegas with a quick stopover in San Francisco.
Kane plays 250 dates a year all over the world and has appeared on countless television shows. Her live band features her now grown firstborn son, Evan on the Drums. She has headlined the Monterey and San Francisco Blues Festivals, The Notodden Blues Festival in Norway, The Waterfront Blues Festival and many, many more.
Awards include the Best Blues Band award at the San Diego Music Awards 7 times. Other recent honors include winning the Trophees France International Award 2004 for Best International Blues Chanteuse and Artist of the Year. She also unseated Jewel for Artist of the Year at the San Diego Music Awards and won the California Music Award for Best Swing/Cabaret Artist.
She continues her busy touring schedule, beginning 2005 with a 75 city tour of Europe and Scandinavia with The Blues Caravan, a well-received package that included her labelmates, Ana Popovic and Sue Foley. Her audience is a mixture of the disenfranchised; Bikers, blues fans, fat girls, queers, porn fans, feminists, men who love fat girls, rockabilly kids and everyday folk flock to see Candye and hear her message of love and empowerment.
Yes, her story reads like a made for TV movie or an episode of the Jerry Springer show. But Candye Kane's story is 100% non - fiction. She persevered in spite of the people who discouraged her and tried to force her to conform. She survived her own way, on her own terms.
But don't let any of these facts be the reason why you book a show with Candye, or choose to write an article about her. Listen to the voice that The Washington Post has described as "A natural wonder like the Grand Canyon." Tap your toes to the infectious, sometimes humorous songs Candye writes with their messages for the lonely, hopeless, downtrodden and unloved. We think you'll agree that Candye Kane is just what the doctor ordered. She's a diva who is here to help us celebrate our sexuality, shatter stereotypes, live our dreams and have a damn good time on the dance floor.
1985 A Town South of Bakersfield Part II (Enigma Records/compilation)
1992 Burlesque Swing (self released cassette)
1992 Let's Put The X Back in Christmas (self-released CD with Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers and Kim Wilson of The Fabulous Thunderbirds)
1993 Acoustic Variations (Local San Diego Compilation cd)
1994 Home Cookin' (Antone's Records/Austin,Texas)
1994 Rock for Choice (Enigma Records/Compilation)
1995 Austin Rocks! (Antone's Records Compilation)
1995 Knock Out (Antone's Records/Austin,Texas)
1996 Diva La Grande (Antone's/Discovery)
1999 Swango (Sire Records)
1999 30 Essential Women of the Blues (House of Blues)
2000 The Toughest Girl Alive (Rounder/Bullseye Blues and Jazz)
2000 Best of Doo Wop Box Set (Rhino Records)
2000 This House (A compilation CD for Nicole's House/The Nicole Brown Charitable Foundation)
2001 Any Women's Blues (Rounder/Bullseye Blues and Jazz)
2004 Whole Lotta Love
2005 White Trash Girl